Breaking News: Class Action Lawsuit To Be Filed Against City's Anti-Camping Ordinance


Cookies to the Oregon Law Center. Lumps of coal to the city for it's draconian "sweeps" policy. Kisses to Matt Davis, Sisters Of The Road, Street Roots, and all the others fighting the good fight. And please, dear god, a dry , safe place to sleep for everyone who's homeless.
Dear members of the Portland City Council:

The Oregon Law Center has filed suit in federal court arguing that the city of Portland's anti-camping ordinance is unconstitutional. As you know, the ordinance has been used to cite, fine and arrest people who are experiencing homelessness in our community even when emergency shelter is not available to everyone who might seek it.

I want to take a moment to reaffirm my personal opposition to the anti-camping ordinance. The ordinance was enacted to target people based simply on their economic and housing status. Sadly, it has been used to "clean-up" Portland's image – to in affect hide the problem of homelessness – during the Rose Festival and other public times. The Oregon Law Center has no doubt made good legal arguments against this ordinance. What I hope the Portland City Council continues to wrestle with is the moral implications of the issue.

The current members of the council deserve praise for working diligently to reduce homelessness in our city. Portland has made progress during difficult times. Hundreds if not thousands of people have moved from homelessness into housing. As Mayor Potter prepares to leave office I want to especially thank him for his leadership on these issues. I'm confident that Mayor Adams, working with Commissioner Fish and others, will make more head way.

Despite our common efforts we all know that homelessness has increased, not decreased, and that over time homelessness has become a problem not faced by alcoholics and drug addicts alone but also by families and veterans. All of these people regardless of circumstance deserve our help. No one should live a third world life in a first world nation.

I have worked for over twenty years in opposition to the anti-camping ordinance because to arrest people under such circumstances violates the civil rights of people who are homeless, because the ordinance is unethical, and because I know we can do better as a community.


The Rev. Chuck Currie

The Rev. Chuck Currie
Interim Minister
Parkrose Community United Church of Christ
4715 NE 106th Avenue
Portland, Oregon 97220